HTC One M8 teardown reveals complicated assembly

htc one m8 teardown

Planning to grab yourself an HTC One M8 (announced just yesterday) without accidental insurance coverage? You’ll want to think twice about that — the latest teardown by iFixIt reveals that the device is one of the hardest to repair in recent years. The repair specialists dug into the thing the moment they got it, and found a ton of components were very difficult to access thanks to HTC’s zero-gap unibody aluminum construction.

Specifically, copious amounts of glue and tape make it difficult to repair one of the most commonly broken components — the display. They also mention that it’s impossible to open the device without damaging the rear of it, and that the battery’s new home under the motherboard makes it virtually impossible to replace.

They did award the HTC One M8 a couple of points on grounds of durability, though, noting that this tight construction should hold up well over time. You can read the full disassembly notes over at iFixIt’s website if you’re interested, and perhaps it’ll persuade you to ponder some insurance options if you weren’t already.

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  • Jay Holm

    More, more, and more reasons not to buy HTC’s smartphones! Samsung for me! This is just not very intelligent design. Good thing HTC doesn’t make cars, sheez!

    • No_Nickname90

      How is this not intelligent? For starters, HTC is giving you a free warranty on the screen replacement for 6 months after purchase…

      It was stated the construction allows it to hold up long enough…

      I mean I don’t see what’s bad with it.

      Unless you’re someone who likes to add hardware modifications to your phone. I’ve only met one person in my life who does that. LoL!!

      But other than that, I can’t see why you’d hate that.

      • h4rr4r

        The only problem I see is with more folks going contract free they will want to keep their phones longer and longer. Battery replacement on Fruit phones is easy, it is obviously easier on non sealed android devices, but even most sealed ones are not that bad. This thing looks like a real PITA.

      • Superprelude

        People like to hate things for no reason.

      • Tojen1981

        Didn’t see where he said he hated it. Just stating his preference for the simplicity of Samsung products. I wouldn’t call being able to replace the battery a hardware modification.

    • DavidVarghese

      So you’re that clumsy eh?
      Or maybe you’re just looking for a reason to hate HTC… Because that is the most troll thing I’ve read in a while.

      • Captain Obvious

        That’s funny, because your reply is the most
        troll thing I’ve read in a while. Clumsy has nothing to do with replacing
        the battery. Current battery technology has a max life span of 2 years,
        with normal use. Building a phone around a “wear and tear” item
        that is currently designed to be replaced, is “not very intelligent design”,
        as mentioned in the original post. It will also make me consider any
        other manufacturer for my next phone, and just because the OP prefers Samsung
        doesn’t mean he is a toll.

        • DavidVarghese

          Clumsy does have something to do with the screen breaking.

          I wouldn’t say a battery on a smartphone has a max life span of 2 years. However the battery does get worse over time, so does the cpu, ram, and even storage gets laggy over time. To say just the battery will be an issue in 2 years time, and is the sole reason to hate this phone as OP, isn’t a good enough reason to hate HTC all together.

          As someone who is fortunate enough to buy a new phone every 2 years or less, it’s not a problem for me. However, it can be a problem for those planning to keep this phone for a very long time.

          Maybe it was the aggressive tone that OP had in his comment that made me think troll.

          • Captain Obvious

            Definitely true for the screen….I for one look forward to unbreakable screens that can be rolled/folded :)

            I also replace my phone more frequently than the norm. However I know more than a few people that keep them the length of their contract, and more often than not before the end of the two years the battery life has diminished to the point of rendering the phone almost useless if you are going to be away from a charging source for more than 4 hours. I personally will not buy a phone with out a removable battery, however not for longevity reasons. On a long flight I watch movies and listen to music which drains most of the battery, when I land I like to swap out for a fresh one and not have to worry about being tethered to a charging cable. Until what point and time a power source can be invented for phones that can run heavy use for days with no recharge, it will only be removable battery phones for me.

            I cant speak for the OP, however I have an aggressive tone when talking about recent HTC phones. Not because I don’t like HTC, on the contrary, because i do. I have been a long time fan of HTC, since before they sold self branded phones. They started by making phones for other companies, and they were some of the best phones of the time. The Audiovox SMT5600 was one of the greatest phones I ever had, seems very low grade with today’s tech but at the time is was awesome! However as of late they haven’t produced anything that I would spend my money, when compared to other manufacturers offerings…. but I remain hopeful!

          • DavidVarghese

            There has been waves in the battery industry, with talk of Carbon being the source of power, which features a insta-charging capabilities and can hold a charge better that Lithium Ion batteries. However, it’ll be years before it can make it to consumer devices such as smart phones.

    • Al Bowering

      Actually this is a brilliant design. By putting the battery between the screen and motherboard, it allows the processor and other electronics to be closer to the aluminium back. So while your Galaxy S5 is thermally throttling to the point of operating like a Galaxy S3, the HTC One M8 will PERFORM like the high end device it is for longer and in hot climate conditions better, because the aluminium is a great thermal conductor. All that Samsung plastic ensures the heat gets trapped inside. Only downfall is the phone will feel warmer… but for me up here in Canada, that’s good for the winter:-)

      • dara_parsavand

        Are you speculating? Or is there something published about the use of the aluminum back as part of the heat sink. I don’t see anything, but I note on HTC’s site, that the circuit board is between the chip and the back. I don’t normally think of heat moving all that well through the circuit board (compared to topside cooling anyway).

        Personally, I won’t buy it. I’m quite annoyed that that OnePlus phone design doesn’t include a removable battery, I will avoid supporting this decision as long as I can (have Samsung now). I don’t care about a phone’s thickness at all. Make a nice fat removable battery and give some good shock protection to a removable back (and then I’ll shed the add on case). Make the form factor be as much screen as possible (except for front facing speakers – I do appreciate HTC’s take on that). If more thickness would have enabled them to get rid of the part of the phone with the HTC logo, they made the wrong choice (for me).

    • Billy_B

      So this thing is obviously built like a tank and you want to pick the cheap plastic crappy build instead? Okay…that makes sense!

      Obviously HTC spends way more producing their phones at a smaller margin than the cheaply made Samsung phones. They can throw a flaming turd in front of you too with the Samsung name on it and it would be better than the HTC One. They give you less for more and that’s what you want?

      I don’t understand. I don’t know why people can’t own one phone and give props to another. It’s beyond me. You don’t have to have the best of everything. It’s seriously okay.

  • ac

    I’ve heard some horror stories about HTC supporting physical fixes to their phones and without HTC store presence in the US, this could be bad if the providers have to send the phones out to HTC to repair. It’s a really great looking phone and build quality definitely looks premium, but I guess it’s worth the risk to HTC.

  • Chrisrj8084

    This breakdown was very beneficial to see, it shows what’s under the bottom Bezel. Just so happens to be part of the digitizer and wiring, have to redo the sound enclosures, and increase the screen size came with a trade off and now we see why. It’s not that HTC had poor engineering or want to display their logo, this was currently the only way to stuff everything in and make it work. I don’t doubt that they tried to shrink it though.

    • Trent

      Its the reason the phone manufacturers choose to make bigger and bigger phones. Like most other manufacturers HTC could have chose to slap a bigger LCD screen on and cut down on the bezel, but for some reason they didn’t. Maybe because HTC’s long and slim phone design it would have a odd aspect ratio and they didn’t want to deal with that with the app developers and such.